Cancer and Women
The statistics surrounding cancer in women are harrowing. The National Cancer Institute estimates that 774,370 women were diagnosed with cancer in 2011 alone, and more than 500,000 Americans die of cancer every year. What's more-- about 230,480 women were diagnosed with breast cancer and 39,520 women died of breast cancer in 2011.
Exercise, for example, is known to reduce the amount of estrogen circulating in the system, and estrogens are known to decrease the rate at which the cancers cells die off, such as breast and prostate cancers.
Nutritional ways to prevent cancer include diets that are low in fat, high in fiber, less red meat, and more seafood, as well as a diet that is high in antioxidants.
Studies show hormones can play a role in the cancer prevention and many controversial media reports pushed by the pharmaceutical companies send mixed messages, making it difficult for the public to make informed and objective decisions.
Testosterone: The Anti-Breast Cancer Hormone for Women
It may surprise you to learn that testosterone is actually an anti-breast cancer hormone for women, and it's gaining attention of the medical community. Menopausal women using testosterone can prevent hormone deficiency symptoms such as hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and other symptoms of hormone deficiency, as well as reduce the rate of breast cancer.
According to a recent study, post menopausal women who took estrogen plus testosterone hormones had a lower breast cancer rate than the group of women who did not take any hormones.
STUDY: (Dimitrakakis C, Jones RA, Liu A and Bondy CA, Menopause, 2004, 11:531-535. Breast cancer incidence in postmenopausal women using testosterone in addition to usual hormone therapy.)
"We believe testosterone is beneficial to breast tissue," states Rebecca Glaser, MD, a researcher on testosterone therapy by pellet implant, its impact on men and women's health and breast cancer prevention. Dr. Glasser treats menopausal women without breast cancer as well as women with breast cancer history.
Although treating menopausal women with testosterone is gaining popularity and supporting evidence validates its potential, Chicago's Ageology physicians emphasize the importance of seeking the care of a qualified bioidentical hormone therapy physician who offers proper evaluation, diagnosis and follow up. Other hormones that are important for a woman's overall health and may convey some protection to the breast tissue include progesterone and estriol.
Progesterone: The Balancer
The risk of breast cancer for women who took estrogen plus bioidentical progesterone was the same as for women who never took hormones.
Estriol: The Estrogen That Protects
Estriol is one of the many estrogens that a woman produces throughout her life. As a woman ages, the levels of estriol decline. Estriol provides protection to breast tissue by blocking the direct effect of estradiol, the most potent of the estrogens. Studies prove that higher levels of estriol are correlated with a lower rate of breast cancer.